The Housing and Planning Bill is currently making its way through Parliament following a Government consultation on â€˜Tackling rogue landlords and improving the private rental sectorâ€™.
They are proposing a blacklist of persistent rogue landlords and letting agents. In response, Paul Shamplina, Founder of Landlord Action, is calling for a blacklist of persistent rogue tenants to be made public.
Some of the consultation’s key discussion points in tackling the worst offenders within the private rental sector include, introducing banning orders and civil penalties of up for £5,000 for rogue landlords, speeding up repossessions of abandoned properties and producing a rogue landlord/letting agent blacklist. It is currently suggested the blacklist of rogue landlords and agents would be available to local authorities and central Government, enabling them to keep track of those who had committed offences.
Paul Shamplina, who was part of this consultation, is calling for the Government to show greater equality and more openness. He argues that if there is going to be a list of rogue landlords and letting agents then it should also include agents that have multiple money judgements against them by landlords for non-payment of rent. Mr Shamplina believes that all associations and redress schemes within the PRS should also put their banned members on this list. He thinks that the list should include rogue tenants and, most importantly, all the information should be made public.
He explains: “We are constantly hearing about ‘rogue landlords and agents’. But to address issues in the private rental sector, we should also consider ‘rogue tenants’. Last year there were 161,000 possession claims issued in England and Wales. At present, there is no central database where possession orders with money claims are registered, as the courts do not recognise possession claims with arrears as a County Court Judgement. If they did, this information would show up on tenant referencing. At present, a rogue tenant can move from property to property running up rent arrears and it does not show up on referencing unless the landlord goes to additional expense of trying to enforce the money order. If we are to protect landlords at pre-let stage, in the same way we wish to protect tenants, this should also be made available.
The Government is clearly committed to improving standards in the PRS. One of the greatest challenges is finding a balance between supporting good landlords and agents, whilst cracking down on criminal activity without burdening the sector with unnecessary, expensive regulation. I believe that one of the best ways to do this is by giving the consumer (landlords and tenants) access to information. Allowing them to have freedom of choice about who they rent from.”
92% of respondents to the Government survey are agreement that there should be a blacklist of persistent rogue landlords and letting agents. Mr Shamplina says making the information available to the wider public would support those reputable landlords and agents and act as an effective deterrent.